Friday, December 2, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Another Friend

I have discovered that when I'm feeling overly emotional or introspective that I tend not to blog. This is probably to all of your benefit because I can only imagine that my thoughts would be chaotic and somewhat impulsive otherwise. So it is with that in mind that I am writing now.

It has been a long and arduous couple of weeks. I have gone back and forth between villages helping friends with their varying situations. For instance, I had one friend whose house was broken into. The culprit, an 18-year-old boy, had climbed onto the roof and entered her house through a hole he made in her ceiling. SCARY. And then I spent time helping another friend pack her things so she could go home.

Whenever we lose a member of our Bots 10 family, it is really hard. This loss was especially hard for me because it was one of my closest and dearest friends here. Her decision to leave is one that I support and I know it is the right choice for her. She had issues at her site, trouble with her counterpart, and a general feeling of being unfulfilled. To put it bluntly, she was unhappy. This sentiment is common among volunteers here and has played a roll in many of the 10 (soon to be 11) early terminations of service by my group mates. Peace Corps service is hard. Peace Corps service is made even harder when you have irreparable issues. And I truly believe that no one should live unhappily if they can do something about it. I am pleased that my friend is able to make a change that will hopefully bring her happiness. But, even though I support her and completely understand her reasons for going, it's hard to say goodbye to a support system and to someone so close to me. So it was with a sad heart that I helped her get ready to go.

Before she left, we talked a lot about the transition back to America and what that might look like. We both agreed that it would be hard. (I mean, we literally cried the first time we walked through a super market in the capital city together that had an international section with things like Captain Crunch and barbecue sauce!) And we agreed it would be overwhelming. Things like paved roads, options, temperature control, technology and appliances, and social interaction are not necessarily common to us anymore. Our Country Director told her in her exit interview that two of the hardest parts of returning home are (1) things and people haven't changed at all and (2) observing the sheer amount of consumerism that exists in the states. Over breakfast the morning she left, we discussed these things and what they mean. Things we pondered included: What happens to our relationships when we come back? Will we be put off or frustrated by our friends and family who don't understand what we have been through and seen/experienced? Will there be a rift in those relationships when we are faced with "unnecessary" or excess spending? Will we look at people differently? Will we be more or less tolerant? Will the frivolity of America make us uneasy or angry? What happens now? Soon she will be able to answer these questions.

My friend landed in America yesterday. We have had a few email exchanges already and so far she's overwhelmed. She said that things like artificial heat is messing with her body and that she's trying to get her bearings back. I'm excited to hear more about her transition back home. And I'm anxious about what life is going to be like here without her...

Miss you already tsala ya me!

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